Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is a rare, rapidly progressing form of blood cancer.

Doctor talks to a patient with leukaemia

What is ALL?

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia is a rare form of blood cancer that is caused by the bone marrow producing too many underdeveloped lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Acute leukaemia occurs suddenly, progresses rapidly, and requires urgent treatment. With ALL, the leukaemia cells are quick to invade the blood stream and spread.

The difference between Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia is the type of blood cell that becomes cancerous. Both are quick-developing and can be fatal within months if left untreated.

ALL is most often diagnosed in young people: children and teens and is very rare, with only around 760 cases per year. Whilst it may be diagnosed in adults, the age group with the highest incidence rate are children aged 0-4 years old.

What are the symptoms of ALL?

The symptoms of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia can include:

  • Tiredness and feeling weak
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent infections
  • A fever

ALL treatments

The main treatment for ALL is chemotherapy, and, occasionally, stem cell transplants.